CWJ slams conviction of Turkish journalist Ayla Albayrak


NEW YORK: The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CWJ) has condemned the sentencing of Wall Street Journal reporter by a Turkish court for allegedly engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organisation.

According to a CWJ press release, the conviction is part of the intimidation and silencing technique that different institutions of the Turkish government are using against journalists across the board.

“This conviction deserves our strongest condemnation. The sentence is absolutely unjustified and even ambiguous in its claims accusing Ayla of biased reporting, while her report also includes the government’s point of view,” founder of the Coalition For Women In Journalism, Kiran Nazish, said. “As a journalist it is Ayla’s job to look at all accounts, so she did. This is not the first time Turkish authorities has convicted an objective journalist. The imprisonment of women journalists around the world is increasing and we condemn this trend.”

Turkey has imprisoned 81 journalists in the country, many of them women. The Wall Street Journal reported that Ayla intends to appeal the decision. “Given the current climate in Turkey, this appalling decision shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, but it did,” she said.

“The state of press freedom is again challenged by the Turkish government in the inappropriate conviction of journalist Ayla Albayrak,” Head of Advocacy for the Coalition for Women in Journalism, Elle Toussi said. “Reprimanding a journalist who provides well-rounded reporting is an attack on all journalists who seek the truth and report it. The Coalition strongly calls for the Turkish authorities to overturn this decision immediately.”

“We as women journalists from around the world stand in solidarity with all of our colleagues who have been wrongfully charged and convicted for simply doing their jobs,” said Jill Langlois, an Associate for Advocacy with the Coalition For Women In Journalism. “Ayla’s sentencing is the latest on a long list of attacks on freedom of the press, a global issue that we can’t ignore.”